When Grill It co-author Chris Schlesinger opened East Coast Grill 22 years ago, this dish was on the menu, he writes. Its still the most popular dish he offers. Fresh sushi-quality tuna is the secret, he says, cut very thick. He likes to serve the fish with wasabi and pickled ginger, both available at Asian and other markets.
1/4 cup sesame seeds
4 fresh tuna steaks (each 3-inches thick, weighing about 8 ounces)
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons freshly cracked white pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup pickled ginger
3 tablespoons wasabi powder, mixed with enough water to make the consistency of wet sand
1/3 cup soy sauce
1. Light a fire on one side of the grill, using enough coals to fill a shoebox. When the flames die down and the temperature is hot, the coals are ready.
2. In a dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds on the grill, shaking them to prevent burning, until they are just a shade darker (or do this on a burner).
3. Rub the steaks all over with the sesame oil, white pepper, and salt. Put them on the hot coals and sear well for 4 minutes on a side. When they are dark brown and crisp on both sides, grill the steaks on each of the edges for about 2 minutes to achieve the same dark, crusty effect. Transfer to 4 dinner plates.
4. Scatter the steaks with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and soy sauce. Adapted from Grill It!